David Wright

This Feels Wright

In my family, there are a number of huge Mets fans. One of them is my Uncle Pat. The two things I always remembered him saying about the Mets were:

  1. How beautiful the Tom Seaver Number Retirement Ceremony was; and
  2. How classy it was that the Mets brought back Lee Mazzilli in 1986. 

I’m too young to remember the Lee Mazzilli heyday. However, I’m not too young that I don’t remember Ron Darling‘s playing days. The reason why I bring this up is because Mazzilli was traded to obtain Darling, who was a key part of the 1986 Mets. 

From what I hear, fans took trading Mazzilli hard. Not only was he a homegrown Met, but he was also a local kid. It’s part of the reason Mets fans have extra love for players like Ed Kranepool. It’s why we were even more excited when Steven Matz got called-up. 

Now, David Wright isn’t a local kid, but he did grow up a Mets fan. He is a homegrown Met. At times, he’s played like a superstar. In 2006. 2007, and 2008, we all thought he would bring us a World Series. It didn’t happen. The Mets then didn’t resign Jose Reyes and stopped spending money. Then the lean years came. 

This year was the first year in a while there was legitimate hope. The Mets had a healthy Matt HarveyJacob deGrom was coming off of a Rookie of the Year season. Offensively, as usual, it all seemed to hinge on Wright and his return from a shoulder injury. It lasted all of eight games before he went down. By necessity, Wright went into the rear view mirror. 

The Mets made their trades and the team took off. Wright wasn’t a part of the Mets Renaissance. We began to hear some nonsense about how Wright might upset the team chemistry. On Monday, Wright showed that notion was just noise. He’s still the leader. He’s still their best player. He’s still the fan favorite. 

That’s the thing. For a whole generation of Mets fans, he’s their Tom Seaver. He’s the guy with the Hall of Fame talent you hope can lead you to the World Series. He’s also their Lee Mazzilli. He’s the lifetime Mets fan who was the best player on a bad team. It wasn’t until he was gone that the team became a contender. 

However, unlike Mazzilli, Wright is back with something in the tank. Wright may not be able to play everyday right now, but he’s still their best option at 3B. I really hope the Mets make a long October run, and I hope Wright gets to be a large part of that like he was on Monday night. 

As we know when David was gone, it was fun because the team was winning, but it didn’t feel 100% “Wright” because he wasn’t there. He’s back, and it feels “Wright” again. Lets Go Mets!

The Wright Stuff

It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the story lines from this game, and there were many. However, win, lose, or draw, this game was always going to be about David Wright‘s return. He started his return with a bang . . . or should I say a blast:

What a way to start!  He would finish the game going 2-5 with that homerun, a walk, three runs, and an RBI. He also made two errors in the field. Hey, he isn’t perfect. I’m willing to let him get up to game speed. We all know he’s going to work to get better and be better. Surrounding Wright’s return was quite an interesting game. 

While Wright was rising to the occasion, Jacob deGrom wasn’t ready for today. He had his worst outing in terms of innings pitched and runs allowed. His ugly line was 2.2 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned). He left the game down 7-2. Sean Gilmartin would come in and save not only deGrom, but also a depleted bullpen. He would go 3.1 innings striking out four and holding the Phillies to seven runs. That was important because the Mets offense was about to go off again in a bandbox. 

The team tied team records with eight homeruns and 15 extra base hits. Here’s the collection of homeruns:

  1. David Wright (solo, 2nd inning)
  2. Juan Lagares (solo, 3rd inning)
  3. Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] (2 run, 4th inning)
  4. Travis d’Arnaud (464′, solo, 4th inning)
  5. Wilmer Flores (3 run, 5th inning)
  6. Michael Cuddyer (solo, 5th inning)
  7. Daniel Murphy (2 run, 6th inning)
  8. Yoenis Cespedes (2 run, 9th inning)

It wasn’t until d’Arnaud’s two run double in the sixth that the Mets scored a run without hitting a homerun. It was the Murphy 9th inning double that broke the record, but it was the Cespedes’ “Feats of Strength” that put the cap on the evening. Overall, the Mets treated Citizens Bank Park so much like Coors Field that they scored 14+ runs for the third time in four games. They would win 16-7. 

In fact, things went so well from the Mets from the fourth inning on that Hansel Robles pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Even Eric O’Flaherty had a 1-2-3 inning getting one righty and two lefties out. Carlos Torres‘ ninth inning was even fairly uneventful. 

Also, even with the questionable lineup, Terry Collins had a good game. He got deGrom out in time. He rode Gilmartin as long as he could, especially with the short bullpen. I’m not going to disagree with him leaving Wright in fir the full game. You could make a reasonable argument to pull him in a laugher. I liked keeping him in there for a full game. It’s his first major league game since April. Let him get fully up to game speed. Although with the Mets not having two relievers who can give multiple innings, I do question using Torres in the ninth. 

One another note, as I said before, these bandboxes produce some ugly and weird baseball. In the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Howard hit a hard line drive into the shift. Flores made a diving stop, but he couldn’t hold onto the line drive. As Howard was walking off the field, Flores got to a knee and threw it to first base. Howard then ran back to first, and because of the off the odd angle, he was heading towards second base when he ran through the bag. As Gary and Ron mused, it would’ve been interesting to see what happened if the throw didn’t beat Howard. 

Overall, it’s tough to figure out if Gilmartin or Flores gets the game ball. We do know the Mets expanded their lead to a season high 5.5 games. I’m going to celebrate with a cookie

Bullpen Giving Me a Headache

We all knew the Mets needed to make a roster move to make room for David Wright. We all believed it was going to be Logan Verrett, who was terrific yesterday

Nope. We were all wrong. Apparently, the Mets enjoy shortchanging the bullpen. Verrett is going to stay and Dario Alvarez is going down. The Mets got away with it last week. With the Phillies and Red Sox coming up, you can tell the Mets think they can get away with it again. The problem is they’re tempting fate in more ways than one now. 

Not only are they shorting the bullpen for two days, but they may also have a rotation problem. We don’t know the severity of Bartolo Colon‘s wrist. He’s due to pitch Wednesday against the Phillies, which is also Verrett’s throw day. As we saw in Baltimore, that means Verrett will only be good for an inning. That means Colon better be alright to pitch. 

If he’s not the Mets could have Matt Harvey start on Wednesday instead of Friday. I don’t think they’ll do that because it would defeat the purpose of them skipping Harvey’s start. There’s also no one on the 40 man roster who’s ready to get called up to make a spot start. 

That means Colon has to start and all hands need to be on deck . . . like they needed to be on Friday. Hopefully, Verrett’s inability to go more than one inning won’t be a major problem. Hopefully, multiple innings of Sean Gilmartin and Carlos Torres won’t harm the Mets chances of winning a game in bandbox like Citizens Bank Ballpark. 

No matter what’s going on, I’m starting to get a headache just trying to figure out what the Mets are doing in the bullpen. 

Selecting the Wright Lineup

Today is the day David Wright comes off the DL. We know he will play 3B. We don’t know much more than that. 

Actually that’s not entirely true. We know Curtis Granderson will hit leadoff except when there’s a lefty in the mound. Then Juan Lagares will hit leadoff. We also know Terry Collins wants Wright batting second. We know there’s a platoon system. I also assume we know the pitcher is batting ninth. I also assume Collins will try to alternate lefties and righties in the lineup. We’ll see later today, but I presume the lineup against righties would look like this:

  1. Granderson RF
  2. Wright 3B
  3. Murphy 1B
  4. Cespedes CF
  5. Johnson 2B
  6. d’Arnaud C
  7. Conforto LF
  8. Tejada SS
  9. Pitcher 

Against lefties, the lineup may look like this:

  1. Lagares CF
  2. Wright 3B
  3. Murphy 2B
  4. Cespedes LF
  5. Granderdon RF
  6. Cuddyer 1B
  7. d’Arnaud C
  8. Tejada SS 
  9. Pitcher

Of course, Collins likes to tweak it here and there to get Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] some ABs. I can also see him batting Granderson second against lefties with Wright third and Murphy fifth. I also assume Anthony Recker bats eighth when he plays. 
Anyway, with the rough time Collins has been having, it’s hard to completely judge how he’ll map up the lineup. This is especially evident with him batting Juan Uribe cleanup. With Wright only playing four games in a row, there will be plenty of chances to do that. Overall, the challenge is not just setting the lineup, but it’s also keeping everyone engaged. Furthermore, it’s about keeping Wright healthy. 

When Lucas Duda comes BACK, there will be some real challenges getting ABs for Uribe and Johnson. If argue the real challenge them would be making sure Collins doesn’t give them regular ABs and let the best players play. 

It’s Just a Flesh Wound

The Mets have a terrific team doctor whom they trust. They allowed him to kill the very important Carlos Gomez deal that initially left them with egg all over their face

It’s because of this that I don’t believe the Mets consult with their team physician when a player has complaints. Matt Harvey was the most important part of the otlrganization in 2013. They let him pitch through forearm tightness, and he would subsequently need Tommy John surgery. 

Never ones to learn their lessons, the Mets permitted Zack Wheeler to pitch with ligament damage while Harvey was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He needed Tommy John surgery. 

Now, after losing two major pitching prospects to injury two of the past three seasons, they repeated the same mistake with Steven Matz. After telling the team of pains in his side in his first major league start, Dan Warthen declared him fit to pitch after watching a bullpen session. Matz was shut down for three weeks and only recently began his rehab outing. 

It’s an epidemic. You need look no further than Friday’s gameBartolo Colon was not fit to pitch. His wrist was swelling up more and more. The Mets answer?  Ray Ramirez sat there rubbing some ice on it and then sent Colon back out there. I guess we should be happy it wasn’t leeches. 

You see that’s the problem. Injuries aren’t taken seriously. They’re not properly addressed. Players are not placed on the DL and their conditions get worse. 

This became evident again with Lucas Duda‘s back. The Mets saw with David Wright the severity of back injuries and how long they take to heal. Similar to Harvey/Wheeler, the Mets showed an inability to learn their lesson. 

Arguably, Duda is the Mets most important offensive player. You need to take care of him. Despite his back pain, they never bothered to send him for an MRI. That’s right they didn’t order a necessary test despite having gone through what they did with Wright. Only now are they conferring with Wright’s back specialist, Dr. Watkins. 

For some reason the information isn’t going from the player to the right people. Maybe it is, and I dint know it. Maybe the Mets are ignoring the advice. Maybe they don’t know to to properly gauge when a doctor needs to be consulted. Whatever the case may be, there is something wrong here.  

The Mets need to change something and fast. Not everything is a flesh wound. Sometimes an important player gets hurt and is out longer because of the team’s actions. It just happened again with Duda. 

Conforto Still Here?

On August 10th, with Michael Cuddyer coming off the DL, the Mets had to decide whether to send down Eric Campbell or Michael Conforto. It seemed both would have to be sent down anyway. Most believed that when David Wright came off the DL, the other player would have to be sent down to AAA. 

I thought it should’ve been Conforto for many reasons. Principally, I thought if you’re going to have to send him down anyway, why not do it sooner to let him really work on some things in AAA where he can get more focused attention. In his infinite wisdom, Mark Simon basically said that we should worry about the second move when the time comes:

https://mobile.twitter.com/msimonespn/status/630832627109335040

It turns out he was right. No one should be surprised because he’s a smart guy and a fantastic follow. Anyway, he’s right because things are a little haywire with the Mets right now. 

The bullpen is a mess right now. Logan Verrett was initially called up to take Bobby Parnell‘s spot in the bullpen. In reality, he was called up for one short relief appearance on his throw day and to make a spot start on Sunday so the team can skip Matt Harvey‘s Sunday start. 
With the bullpen being short, the Mets decided they needed to call-up Dario Alvarez. I don’t know much about him. I’m not putting much stock in his performance last year. It was a small sample size. However, he was ranked as the Mets #22 ranked prospect. After a good start in Binghampton, he moved to Las Vegas where he’s been dominant with a 1.08 ERA, a 0.60 WHIP, and 16.20 K/9. This may turn out to be a great decision especially since Alvarez is a LHP. 

Now, the Mets need to make a make room for Alvarez. Throughout the game on Friday, Gary Cohen suggested it would be Conforto. With him having to go down on Monday and the Rockies throwing a LHP on Saturday, meaning Conforto wouldn’t play, it seemed to be the right move. Then, as Mark Simon said, things began to work themselves out.”

First, Bartolo Colon was hit on the wrist and has a large bump there. It was severe enough that it merited getting an x-ray. Luckily, it’s not broken, but Colon said it did affect his pitching. He doesn’t want to have to skip a start, but I’m not ruling it out at this point. At some point, the Mets may need to consider putting him on the DL. 

Speaking of the DL, Lucas Duda had to be pulled from the game with an aggravation of the same back injury. According to Adam Rubin, it may be Duda who winds up on the DL. It should be noted with the Mets not putting Duda on the DL when the problem first arose, they got a PH appearance, two games at DH, and six full innings at 1B. If he was initially placed on the DL, he would’ve been ready to come back on August 28th. Presumably, he would’ve been in better shape and not susceptible to a relapse. Instead, the Mets will get three games from Duda between August 13th and September 6th. Yet again, they’ve botched an injury situation. 

With Duda presumably going to the DL, Conforto gets a reprieve. I wish the Mets would let him bat against lefties. It doesn’t make sense that they don’t, especially when they let Curtis Granderson do it. However, that’s another argument to re-hash at another time. 

Let’s hope Colon and Duda get better. Let’s hope Conforto begins to produce better than his .224/.333/.448 triple slash line. Let’s hope Alvarez is effective. Mostly, let’s hope the Mets start reacting better to player injuries. 

Two More Conforto Games Left

With David Wright set to come off the DL on Monday, it seems as if Michael Conforto‘s days are numbered. This series against the Rockies will be his last until September. 

First things first, with Terry Collins’ inane handling of Conforto, it seems Conforto will only play two games. Since Eric Campbell was sent down on August 10th, Conforto will only have started in seven of eleven games. Regardless of his inactivity, Conforto has made contributions. There was the homerun against the Rays and the one against the Pirates. 

He will be missed. I believe he was missed during his time on the team. Let’s enjoy this weekend because he’ll be gone for two weeks. 

What Can We Expect from Wright?

I’m not the first, and I’m not going to be the last to compare David Wright and Don Mattingly. My goal today is to hopefully be a little more nuanced than a side by side comparison. Rather, I want to see exactly how back problems deteriorated Mattingly’s abilities. 

Normally, I would use Lenny Dykstra as a comparable because he also has spinal stenosis. However, I don’t know if I can trust any of his stats with his steroids usage. We do know like Wright, Mattingly suffered from a low back injury. The nature of the two injuries are different, but they are both chronic problems. 

It appears the problems first surfaced in 1987. In that year, Mattingly went from a 7.2 WAR to a 5.1 WAR player. In essence, he went from a superstar to an All Star player. He would then quickly deteriorate into just a “good” player. Mattingly’s back worsened in 1990, and with that he became a -0.3 player, which translates to a bad player. For the rest of his career, Mattingly would be nothing more than a solid starter. He retired at the early age of 34. 

Wright has had a terrific career, arguably better than Mattingly. In 2007 and 2008, Wright was a superstar player, as per WAR. In 2009, the Mets moved to Citi Field and Wright was nothing more than a solid starter. In 2010, Wright suffered a broken back. Unlike Mattingly, Wright would rebound from his back injury to put up superstar numbers again in 2012 and 2013. 

Last year, Wright regressed again. However, last year it was a shoulder injury and not a back injury. This year it was discovered that Wright has spinal stenosis. We don’t know if it’s related to the 2010 injury. 

What I do know is that Wright and Mattingly are two different players. We have seen that Wright once overcame a back injury, a different back injury, to return to superstar form. Mattingly never did. So yes, both are popular New York corner infielders. Both have back injuries. 

However, they are two different players with two different back injuries. We shouldn’t be comparing them to determine how the rest of Wright’s career is going to proceed. Wright is a different player and person. 

I’m nervous about Wright, but after 2012 and 2013, I won’t bet against him. 

Mets Finances

Sometimes, I don’t understand Mets fans. The Mets make a few trades and they act like they’re flush with cash. The Mets refinance $700 million in debt, and fans act the team is broke again. 

The truth of the matter is nothing has changed. It’s true the Mets added almost $9 million in salary. Its also true the Braves and Athletics provided money in their trades with the Mets. 

Furthermore, they have saved money in their current payroll. Jenrry Mejia was slated to make $2 million. It was his own stupidity that led to most of this money not being paid. Then there’s the savings on the David Wright contract. He’s slated to make $20 million, and his contract is 75% insured. 

Based upon the 162 game schedule, Wright makes $123,419.79 per game. Wright has missed 111 games, or $13,699,596.69 in salary. With his contract being 75% insured, the Mets saved $10,274,679.52. You’ve read that right. While the Mets have technically added payroll, the salaries they’re paying out is less than their budget. Keep in mind this number increases each day Wright is on the DL. 

The refinancing is not an issue. They’re saving money. It’s the reason why people refinance their homes. This isn’t the reason to question the Mets finances and motives. The reason to question the Mets finances is how they handle their payroll. 

Sure, they’ll tell you they added $9 million in payroll, but the Mets have saved a lot more than that. The Mets are still in the bottom third in payroll. They’re not spending like a New York team. This team has holes, notably the bullpen

Accordingly, I ask you that next time you’re told something by this team, whether by press release or by feeding it to various news outlets, question the information. While this team can’t afford much, it does seem they’ve been able to obtain good press coverage. 

I guess winning does cure all ills . . . including the financial ones. 

BACK to Having This Conversation

We all have those conversations that we just hate having. For some of us, it’s that conversation when it’s time to go on a diet. For others, it’s about the household budget. For all Mets fans, it’s about injuries.

They all start out seemingly innocuous and become something more. When it originally seems bad, we’re told it’s not and the player sits on the bench until they can hobble on the field for a PH appearance. 

Prior to this year, it was the awful way, the Mets responded to Matt Harvey‘s and Zack Wheeler‘s arm complaints. It continued this year with Dan Warthen playing doctor with Steven Matz

Also, this year we saw David Wright‘s hamstring injury become a spinal stenosis issue. Then the Mets refused to put Michael Cuddyer on the DL, severely limiting the team. Now, Lucas Duda has missed three straight games with an unknown back injury

Yes, I know it says stuff back in the link, but that’s a symptom; not a diagnosis. For example, a throbbing leg is a symptom. When x-rays show a fracture that’s a diagnosis. Duda has missed three straight games. It’s time to get some tests. 

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m saying this after David Wright. You’d think the Mets would be extra sensitive to back injuries. However, when looking at the facts, I’m naive. You’d think the Mets would’ve show extra precaution when a young starting pitcher has arm complaints after Harvey, yet they ignored Wheeler. 

I’m not calling for Duda to be put in the DL yet. You need to know what the problem is before making that decision. However, I will note that when they finally put Cuddyer on the DL, he got better, and it looks like he’s playing better

I’d rather see Duda get right than try to play through this and get more hurt. While we know rest may not be the best cure, he can do the exercises needed to get his back strong for the rest of the year. It’s not about RIGHT NOW; it’s about this season. You need healthy players for the stretch run. First base can be manned by Cuddyer and Daniel Murphy in the interim. 

Please let the Mets learn from their mistakes and take care of Duda. They’ll need him.